Case's songwriting has always been a bit elliptical and abstract, so there's no guarantee that the events she's singing about happened in a literal sense. Still, one potentially interesting connection is that Bob's Java Jive is off South Tacoma Way. We know that Case worked there for a while, and perhaps she was driving to or away from the Jive while going through the emotions that she sings about in "South Tacoma Way."
The Jive is somewhat famous and one of Tacoma's most recognizable roadside oddities. It's appeared in Roadside America
, among other places. The building is shaped like a giant tea pot. It's been there for decades and is today one of the most beloved dive bars in Tacoma, full of interesting characters both savory and unsavory, as well as popular local music acts.
Case is generally elusive, both personally and in regards to her music, so it's difficult to say exactly how literal "South Tacoma Way" is.